Today's question comes from Tricia Kristufek, editor extraordinaire at : Trish's Site
She directs this question specifically to Tom, but I think we can all relate.
“How do you keep your marriage alive when you spend so much time apart?”
Jenny and I have a great marriage despite what a certain author-type may have written about me. I admit, I have been tempted a time or two. But, I would like to point out that my actual record of physical contact with women other than my wife is clean.
Some people say that thinking about it is as bad as actually “doing it,” but I have to think that you must draw a line somewhere. If it doesn't feel as good as the real thing, how can that be? I think about a lot of stuff that I don't actually do. Does that make me guilty of doing those things? I don't think so but your mileage may vary.
If just thinking about someone new makes you guilty, then how many people are not guilty? Do we lose our attraction to everyone else except our significant other when we decide to enter into a relationship? I don't think so. Man does not live by bread alone...he must have peanut butter.
That's why men watch porn and women read romance. Romance is their mental porn even though it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the men in their lives to live up to the ideals in those books. Have you read some of that smut? And not one of those men in the books has to loosen their pants after a big meal. Hell, they can rarely be found in shirts.
Thinking is not doing, that's all I am saying.
That all makes sense to me until I start contemplating whether or not Jenny thinks about other men. At that point, I start getting angry and need to go shoot a bad guy....I mean, a paper target silhouette of a bad guy, of course. Ahem...
It actually works out well that I travel a lot. Every time I get home, we make up for the time lost. If we were together all the time, I swear she would drive me nuts. She chews her nails, you know. Plus, she likes the temperature in the house somewhere just below the Arizona desert. She might even have some complaints about me if she thought about it hard enough. I guess I have some bad habits, too, though I don't know what they might be.
The great thing about Jenny is that she always goes the extra mile. I am not a huge fan of lingerie because I think it looks best crumpled up in the corner, but I appreciate the effort (some of those snaps are just wickedly complex, though!). I always feel something special when I pull into our driveway. I'm home then and much of my stress just disappears.
What do I do for her? Well, she doesn't much like flowers and won't touch chocolate so my options for more grand gestures are limited. I tell her I love her every day and I think every woman needs to hear just how beautiful she is on a regular basis. I have never really talked about it with Jenny, but I think she would prefer those things over store-bought trinkets.
If you have read Splitter's books, you will notice that every time my wife and I talk on the phone, we say our “I love yous.” Yeah, guys laugh at me for doing it, but no one is guaranteed a safe trip home. That is especially true in my line of work.
Someone once said that women's fantasies bore men and men's fantasies offend women. That may be true in some cases, but I also know that if your partner is unfulfilled, you run the risk of them wandering off to seemingly greener pastures. If you re not tickling your partner's fancy, whatever it might be, someone else will. Personally, I love my fancy tickled.
In the end, it's all about effort. Man or woman, you won't always “feel it” every single day, but you have to make the effort so your partner feels appreciated.
Hey, if you didn't want to read all of that, here is a video that says it well (I reached into the way-back machine for this...listen to the words):
Disclaimer: Darn it, Tom, that songs always gets to me. Off to nuzzle Mrs. Splitter.